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cat behaviour

cat BEHAVIOUR

While it might not be possible to have a conversation with your cat about how it’s feeling, there are many ways to identify whether your cat is happy and relaxed or distressed and upset.
Being able to pick up on these signals will increase your cat’s feeling of security and will increase its show of love and affection to you and your entire household.

SIGNS OF A HAPPY CAT

Happy cat hold their tails up

A TAIL STRAIGHT UP in the air, with a relaxed flick of the top of the tail

Happy cats showing their underside

LOTS OF AFFECTION, including rubbing against your legs or cuddling in your lap.

A high pitched “MEOW!” while chatting with you.

happy cats have healthy appetites

A healthy APPETITE.

happy cats show their underside and want to play

LYING ON ITS BACK with four paws stretched out.

happy cats like to play and spend more time with their owners

Being curious and PLAYFUL like a kitten.

While it might not be possible to have a conversation with your cat about how it’s feeling, there are many ways to identify whether your cat is happy and relaxed or distressed and upset.

Being able to pick up on these signals will increase your cat’s feeling of security and will increase its show of love and affection to you and your entire household.

Why do cats show different cat behaviours?

Cats are at their most loving and well behaved when they feel in control of their environment.

When they feel this control they will carefully mark their home using facial marking via the release of pheromones. This release happens each time a cat rubs its face against furniture or nuzzles up against your legs.

When you see your cat displaying this cat behaviour, you can be sure that it’s feeling great.

People can unwittingly disrupt these important marks of security by moving furniture or bringing in new furniture, excessively cleaning, or doing building work and DIY work

When this happens our cats become disorientated and take on stress, which can lead to misbehaviour.

Other factors that affect cats are access to food, heat, water, litter trays, attention and competition in the household with other cats (read the Cat Conflict section for more on these issues), as well as visitors to the household. 

If your cat has been taken out of its environment for a period (i.e. to the vet or cattery) then this will reduce the presence of facial marking in the home, which can make settling back in more difficult.

In addition, if you have other cats, the cat coming back home will have picked up unfamiliar scents while away. These smells may provoke anxiety in your other cats. See taking your cat back home after a visit to the vet for more advice in this case.

Perhaps the biggest cause of stress for the cat can be in moving home where nearly all facial markings have been removed. This represents a major change within the cat’s environment which can cause some issues. See more information on how to move home with a cat.

This is why using a Feliway diffuser or spray is such a help during times of change, as it maintains the pheromone which cats identify with feelings of happiness and security.

Using Feliway in the areas your cat frequents will help them to adjust more easily to any changes going on.

For more detailed information on cat behaviour from Veterinary Behaviourist, Jon Bowen, see video introduction on cat behaviour and further reading on WikiVet.

SIGNS OF AN UNHAPPY CAT

8 signs to look out for include:

Unlike dogs, who give obvious behavioural signs to their owner when they need something, cats are far more discrete and complex in showing that they are in distress.

Knowing the common warning signs when your cat is feeling stressed is essential in identifying their emotional well-being and making the changes necessary to improve their feeling of security and contentment.

Using Feliway will help to keep your cat feeling secure and at ease at all times, making for a very happy, playful, and affectionate cat!

Further advice on keeping your cat happy

For further information on cat behaviour see the International Cat Care Cat Behaviour section

For even more detailed information on normal cat behaviour and problem cat behaviour see WikiVet information.

Keeping your cat happy is easy to do if you know how to identify the warning signs and use a Feliway spray or diffuser around the house.